Saturday, June 30, 2012
The Challenge Of Getting Photos Seen
Who would ever think to search for a gorilla standing behind the help desk?
Pigs Flying, Stampeding Longhorns, and Fire Breathing Dragons
Way back, over twenty years ago, when I first started making stock photos using Photoshop, pictures of pigs flying, stampeding longhorn cattle and fire breathing dragons, stock photos were marketed in catalogs. If your image made it into the catalog it got seen and it sold. My biggest fear when the industry began to transition out of catalogs and onto the Internet was that if my pictures weren’t seen they wouldn’t be licensed…and who would search for flying pigs? Especially twenty years ago when Photoshop was still new.
Gorillas In The Office
That fear is still with me…and possibly still legitimate. When I created this Gorilla picture it brought that concern back to me. Out of curiosity I did a little keyword research. Do you know how many searches there are for “Gorilla in the office”? None. Uh, who is going to search for “Gorilla at the help desk”? Or, “gorilla symbolizing poor service”? You see my problem. I have that issue with many of my images…maybe most of them! Frankly, sometimes I am surprised I make any sales at all!
Images That Depart From The Norm
Luckily people do search for “service desk” and “help desk”, so it is important to make sure those keywords are emphasized on my website page that features that image. Of course, what is far more important for my own situation is getting images into the appropriate stock agencies. In the case of images that are a departure from the norm, and that may be difficult to find when searching for, it can be very important to have an agency with a sales staff that is familiar with their images and can help direct clients to my images…er I mean the appropriate imagery.
A Strong Brand And People Searching The Internet
Establishing a strong brand could possibly help, but again, with my core collection of only a thousand images the odds of my having the right image for any one client are pretty small. Further, the vast, vast majority of people searching for images on the Internet will never be aware of a given photographer’s “brand”. I believe the best strategy for increasing my sales is still getting the rankings high for each individual image on my site and hope for as much exposure as possible. If enough people see the image there will be a small percentage that will license it. Indeed, that does appear to happening.
Generating Traffic Through Relevant Keywords
In terms of getting the most visibility for my individual photos, SEO for Google search still appears to be the best route to go. I can see how social media such as facebook can work well for portrait or wedding photographers, but who searches for stock photos on facebook or twitter? Of course “likes”, “Tweets”, “Pins” and “+1”s can, at least in theory, add to the rankings of a page or site, but when I look at my analytics none of my top ranking pages, in terms of traffic generation, have any significant number of “likes” and such. Most have none. I do engage in a smattering of social media efforts to keep my foot in the door, but IMHO there isn’t any better way of generating traffic for stock sales than through lots of relevant keywords worked into the text of an image page.
Do The Hard Work And Keep The Faith
Where was I…oh yeah, gorillas behind the help counter. Anyway, there doesn’t seem to be a perfect solution…heck, even decent solution. And yet some of these “hard to search for” images are my best sellers. Despite all my misgivings people are finding them and are licensing them. If there is a moral here it is to do the hard work and keep the faith.